Sunday, December 3, 2017

02 Painting, Streets of Paris, by John Singer Sargent, Part 14 - With Footnotes

John Singer Sargent,  (1856–1925)
A Parisian Beggar Girl, circa 1880
Oil on canvas
64.5 × 43.7 cm (25.4 × 17.2 in)
Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, IL 

By ‘79 Sargent begins his major portraits and he never particularly showed any desire to paint scenes of Parisian life, opting for more exotic locals for his subject paintings, this was probably done when he was studying with Carolus-Duran's atelier.  

Carmela Bertagna has been identified as the model in the Parisian Beggar Girl,  which is hanging at the Terra Museum in Chicago. Carmela posed for many of Sargent's dancers and figures in interiors. More on this painting

A Parisian Beggar Girl was first exhibited in 1906 as Spanish Beggar Girl. The confusion of the two titles may be explained by the possibility that the model, Carmela, was a Parisian of Spanish or Italian descent who posed for a portrait by Sargent dated to around the time he painted A Parisian Beggar Girl. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent,  (1856–1925)
Carmela Bertagna, c. 1879
 Oil on canvas
59.69 x 49.53 cm (23.5 x 19.5 in.)
Columbus Museum of Art 

Very little is known about Carmela's life, except that she lived with her mother and brother. Her father is unknown. She and her family had to work in order to make ends meet for themselves. She is of Spanish descent and modelled with various artists, including John Singer Sargent. Her Mediterranean Latin looks fascinated Sargent, who was captivated by magnificent Rosina Ferrara of Capri a year earlier. More on Carmela Bertagna

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his "Portrait of Madame X", was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent

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